I'm sure Frank Beamer is sick of answering the following questions-Who will be Virginia Tech's starting quarterback this season, and will Marcus Vick play as a true freshman? Unfortunately, no one knows and no one will know until fall practice is underway. Let's take a look at all the candidates...
Grant Noel (6-1 222) r-Sr.- As long as his knee holds through August practices, Noel is likely to be named the starting quarterback for Virginia Tech. Noel tore his ACL in Spring Practice and elected not to have surgery, which would have cost him his senior season. He has excellent experience and understands the Tech offense more than any other quarterback on the roster. However, there are still many question marks. Will his knee make it through August practice? If it does, will it hold throughout the season? No one knows, but no one is more determined than Grant Noel.
Bryan Randall (6-0 225) So.- Randall will be the biggest threat to Noel for the starting job. Playing for both teams in the annual Maroon-White Game, Randall performed well and showed good command of the offense. Randall is much more athletic than Noel and has just as good an arm, if not better. However, he played in only a few games last season, and that was mop-up duty. He just doesn't have the experience of Grant Noel. What he does have is a lot of potential and if he wins the job he will make his fair share of athletic plays.
Marcus Vick (6-1 185) Fr.- We all know who his brother is, so I won't waste my time or yours by talking about it or comparing the two. Marcus Vick was rated by most publications as one of the top 5 prep quarterbacks in the country this past season. He has good arm strength, but his accuracy is his greatest assest. He runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and has the ability to seriously deprive defensive coordinators of sleep. Although Vick is a longshot, don't count him out of the race until August practice is over.
Will Hunt (6-0 207) r-Fr.- Hunt has some serious ground to make up. He didn't get very many snaps during Spring Practice and a shoulder injury set him back even further. He still has a shot, albeit not much of one. However, he has the athletic ability to move to another position, such as Rover or Whip.
I could analyze this until my fingers fell off from typing, but there is no point in doing that. Instead I'll just have a little bit of fun and give you my predictions. Grant Noel's knee will hold out through August and he will be named the starting quarterback for Virginia Tech. The plan will be to redshirt Marcus Vick, with Bryan Randall serving as backup. However, the coaches will have to move to Plan B when Noel's knee can't last throughout the season. Randall will move into the starting position and the coaches will pull the redshirt off Vick because they are reluctant to rely on Will Hunt as the backup.
I am hoping that my prediction is wrong, and the coaches are able to redshirt Marcus Vick. However, if he is forced into serious playing time, he will make his plays along with a lot of freshmen mistakes. Virginia Tech's best chance for success in 2002 is with a healthy Grant Noel at quarterback. However, with Noel's knee still in question, Bryan Randall better be ready to go from day one.